Poker is a card game with many variants that can be played between two or more players. It requires skill and strategy to win, which makes it a popular pastime for millions of people worldwide.

Unlike other card games, in which the player who places the first bet establishes the amount of money to be raised by the others, in poker, all players have equal chances to place their bets and raise them accordingly. The object of the game is to win the “pot”—the sum total of all bets made during a deal. This can be accomplished either by having the highest-ranking poker hand or by placing a bet that no other player calls.

If a player wins the pot, he or she takes all of the chips at that table, which is often agreed upon before the game begins. In some cases, however, the winning player is required to share the pot with other players, allowing them to still participate in the game without having to risk all of their money.

During the betting phase, players take turns revealing their hands. The highest-ranking hand wins the pot. A “flush” contains five cards of the same suit that skip in rank or sequence (for example, 3-2-4-5-7). The most valuable type of hand is a “straight” consisting of consecutive cards that match in rank and/or suits, such as 10-J-Q-K-A. A poker hand can also contain one or more wild cards, which can represent any other card the player chooses.